Nine-thirty. The book Emily was reading slips from her hands as she falls asleep.
Her angels disappear from her room…
…and appear at their desk.
On the “Human’s Ambient Sound” speaker, they hear a dog barking in the distance, which wakes up their charge. Her angels disappear from the great hall...
...and reappear at her bedside. Emily puts her book on her night table, snuggles under her covers, and quickly slips into sleep again.
Her angels disappear from her room…
…and reappear at their desk.
“Great exercise,” David says.
But Angela simply stares at the monitor, watching Emily sleep; Jasper whispers; Stephanie computes. After a while, David stands up, looks around their area of the great hall, and starts to pace. The teams in many of the surrounding cubicles diligently attend to their tasks, while other cubicles are empty because that team’s human is still up and about.
David overhears one angel talking to the rest of her group: “I know, you could have this woman’s phone line go down and send this repairman over there and on the way, he could run into—”
David roams down the aisle a little more. As he passes an unangeled (yes, well, we can’t exactly say unpeopled, can we?) cubicle, David spots a heretofore unnoticed small monitor showing a human being doing her human thing and her angels doing their angelic things. Since David is always away from the desk while he and the team are with Emily, he’s never seen that a monitor plays the whole human/angel day in their absence. He leans closer to see what this particular human is up to: she tosses items into her grocery cart and heads a little further down the supermarket aisle. Nothing very monumental here. He straightens up and notices that Angela has stopped watching Emily and instead has her eyes on him.
“Everything’s monumental,” Angela says.
“Pardon?” He’s irritated at himself for slacking on his duties as well as for thinking something he’d rather not have his superior pick up on.
There she goes again! David strides back to the cubicle devoted to Emily. His irritation doubles, then quadruples onto itself—he’s irritated at himself for being irritated, which only increases the irritation. He whistles in an attempt to clear his mind.
“That woman at the supermarket is about to have eye contact with a man who appears to be alone, but isn’t—his girlfriend is just further down the aisle. The man’s attention back to this woman sends his girlfriend into a rage because it’s just the very last straw on the camel’s back, as humans like to say. But mostly because it’s the higher road on her path. She’s going to leave him, then meet the man she’s going to marry, and together they parent a child who is eventually going to be the President.”
She lets David digest the vast implications of a trip to the supermarket. “But the future’s always in motion, as Penelope told me,” he finally comments.
“Right, but some things, like who’s going to be President, are somewhat fixed. They have to be.” She lets him think about that for a few moments, too. “Feel like going on a galactic gallivant?”
“That’d be a ‘road trip,” as humans would call it.”
“We’re allowed to do that?”
Angela takes David’s arm and the two disappear from the great hall…
…and appear in the heart of Skid Row on New York’s Bowery.
Several drunks snore in a doorway. David notices that they shimmer with light. Their computing angels compute, their watching angels watch, and their whispering angels whisper to them: “You are loved. You are a blessing. You are a miracle. You can wake up to the light that you are—any time. You are loved. You are a blessing.”
Angela and David watch them for a while, until she taps him on the shoulder and points to one particular man. “Look, he’s about to die. You can see his family, his friends, even his dog—they’re all lining up to greet him.”
David notices that the dying drunk shimmers more than the others and that light beings, including one in a canine shape, hover over him.
“But don’t beings move on to their next incarnation, their next phase, whatever that is?” David asks. “How can all of them be waiting for him—and all those beings for all those humans—when they die?”
“It’s a hologram,” Angela explains. “One piece represents the whole. We’re all part of this whole, plus we can be anything at any time, anywhere. So our beloved ex-humans/light beings here can be on to their next phase, whatever that is, and they can be there to greet their loved ones when they pass on and congratulate them for a job well done.”
“But this one was a drunk!”
“That was his disguise, yes. We’re all drops in the vast ocean of infinity, cleverly disguised as a drunk or an angel or whatever we choose. And just living a life on Earth is a job well done. It’s not exactly easy here, you may have noticed.”
The drunk slowly opens his eyes. As he notices his three angels sitting around him, he blinks. When they don’t disappear—they’re really there, he realizes—he tries to sit upright but fails. The computing angel puts away his computer.
“Look, he’s about to talk to his angels,” Angela says. “He’s at the point where he can see between the worlds.”
“Am I dying?” the drunk asks his angels.
“Yes, my love,” responds an angel. “You are. But it’s not an ending. It’s a new beginning.”
“Anything’d be better than this.”
“You did well, my dear,” says another angel. “Earth is one of the toughest places in the universe.”
“Probably could’ve done better.”
“Yes, perhaps you could have,” responds the third angel. “Perhaps next time you will. It’s your choice. And it’s all good.”
Tears roll down the man’s face.
“Your family and friends are waiting for you.” An angel points to a shaft of light that has appeared overhead, much like a spotlight shining in a theater.
“They hated me!”
“They don’t any more.”
“I didn’t do too well here.”
“You evolved your soul. That’s all you needed to do.”
The drunk leans his head back and slumps as the life force leaves his body. His human-shaped form of light detaches itself from his physical body—hands and feet first, then his head, and then the rest of the light body follows. His light form starts to rise. A chorus of cheers and party sounds—barks, too—erupt from the group of light beings as his light form rises up to meet them.
“Mom! Dad!” the man cries. He throws his arms around them, but not very successfully. He tries again, and this time his arms pass through them a little less rapidly. Third time’s a charm: becoming accustomed to his arms of light, he slowly wraps them around his parents. After a few moments relishing the reconnection, he turns to the next being in the receiving line. “You! You sank my business! You took my entire life away from me! You turned me into a drunk! No—oh my God!” he hoots. “That was you?” After a couple of pats on the back that pass right through his former nemesis, the third pat meets its target. “That was you all along? Holy moly, you sure had me going!”
The shouts of welcome and greeting slowly start to fade up and away. The dog barks more raucously.
“Hey Buddy—how ya doin’ ole pal? It’s been such a long, long time!”
Angela and David smile at each other.
“Quite a homecoming,” David says.
“Oh, yes. They all get something like that.”
“What’s next for him? What’s next for his angels?”
“Whatever they want, whatever they choose.” Angela takes David’s arm and they disappear…
…and appear in a stately mansion overlooking a beach. The sun is setting over the Pacific—reds and oranges and yellows glow in bright bands of colors on the clouds. But the very genteel-looking, golden-aged man and woman keep their eyes glued to the television, martini glasses in hand.
David shifts about, waiting for something to happen, but the couple just stares at the high-def wide-screen. After a bit, it dawns on him that they’re not even seeing what they’re watching. “No one’s home!”
“No, no one’s home,” Angela concurs.
“Plus, they’re each a drunk, too, just like the other fellow.”
“Oh, these humans are so clever. Even their disguises can take so many interesting disguises.”
Angela and David watch them for a while longer until Angela takes David’s arm and they disappear….
…and appear in a cold, dark room. David sees four angels holding the hands—two angels holding each hand—of a young woman as a man forces himself on her. Three men lounge in chairs along the wall, waiting to take a turn.
The three angels of the rapist shout to him, “Stop! Please! You can do better than this! You are here to be a blessing! You are loved!”
David looks around him in complete shock and disbelief. “What…in…creation……?”
The three angels of the last man in line whisper to him. “You are a blessing. You are loved. You are here to share love. Please wake up. You can do so much good with your life.”
The man, a younger, less rough version of the other men, slowly stands up and slips out the door. His angels clasp hands, dance, and hug each other as they follow him out.
“He heard them,” David smiles.
“Yes, at some level.”
David watches the woman again. While her rapist is still in action, her eyes are fixed on the ceiling. Her angels speak to her: “You are loved. You are strong. You will find a better life and teach others to be strong. And you’ll do it so well because you’ve had to be so strong, dear one. They’ll look up to you because you’ve truly had to follow the road of finding your inner strength. You are so loved. You are so strong.”
The heartbreaking anguish on the woman’s face transforms into resolve. Her eyes follow the pattern of the cracks in the ceiling as if she’s looking for a specific symbol; the search distances her mind and spirit from her physical circumstances. David notices that the darkness of the trauma in and on her body is easing, even though her attacker’s motions have intensified.
“In answer to your question,” Angela says, “it’s one of the greatest mysteries in creation, the evil that humans can do to each other. Sometimes it’s for greater strength. Sometimes it’s for greater contrast. Sometimes, well, God only knows, literally. Sometimes it’s just plain unbelievable.”
They float out of the dingy apartment building and float higher and higher off the ground. A snowcapped mountain range glistens in the distance, and David notices that the highway signs are not in English.
“But you must respect her—you must respect every single one of them—as a cocreator of her journey, as cocreators of all of their journeys,” Angela states. “She is not a victim. She is evolving her soul. We don’t know what these beings have chosen to work on in any particular incarnation.”
“You and I—any angel—could look it up on their charts.”
“Well, of course. But just looking at a situation from the outside, at the human level, often won’t tell you very much. But life is always moving toward a higher good. It’s not happening to them; it’s happening for them.”
“Well, but just because others don’t know that either, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t stop an injustice from happening.”
“You’re right,” Angela agrees. “Being awake and aware and not doing anything about an injustice is far, far worse than being asleep and perpetuating the injustice.”
She takes David by the arm...
...and they float over a tarmac in the middle of a desert. Two men approach a plane filled with food and medical supplies. After a moment of intense negotiation with the pilot, they hand him some money.
All three have three angels who are talking to them nonstop: “Please share this wealth. Please give it to the hungry. You are loved. You are a blessing. You can do better than this. Please awaken to your true nature. Please discover your higher destiny. You are loved.”
The men signal to a crew to unload the plane. Once the plane is empty, the pilot boards it.
The pilot’s angels try to appeal to him. “You are loved. You are a blessing. You have great things to do. There is more to life than money.”
“You can’t do anything in this godforsaken place without money, and there’s no other way to get any!” the pilot screams to the windshield of his plane.
After a moment of stunned silence, the angels high five and hug each other.
“He heard them, directly,” David comments.
“Yes. It’s a start of a whole new way of being for him. He’ll probably get his fourth angel soon.”
David moves to wipe away a tear.
“You don’t cry,” Angela scolds, albeit gently. “You’re an angel.”
David looks at his dry finger. “I wish I could cry. For joy.”
Angela tilts her head as she hears something off in Emilyland. “Oh! She’s waking up!”
The desert disappears…
…as Angela and David reappear with the other two angels in Emily’s bedroom. A very sleepy Emily turns to look at the clock—11:58. She rolls onto her back, but she doesn’t shut her eyes.
After studying the ceiling for a while, Emily looks over at the group of angels, specifically at David. He startles as her eyes seem to rest upon his, but it doesn’t take long to realize that she’s looking right through him. She holds out her hand to him; David starts to exclaim something to the others, but finds he’s been awestruck into silence.
“Hold her hand,” Angela urges him. After regaining his angelic composure, he complies.
Emily’s mystified look turns to a smile as she realizes that, well, she might not be as alone in her room as she thought. She feels—well, something. She’s not quite sure what, though. A scowl erases her smile as the practical, rational side of her mind takes over. She pulls her hand under her covers. For a very long time, David, whose hand remains up, where it was holding hers, remains more mystified than Emily was.
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